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Summary: We tend to take Christmas lights for granted. They're so common and so much a part of Christmas that we don't often give them much thought. But how tragic if we neglect the most important light of the season.

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OPEN: We tend to take Christmas lights for granted. We see them on Christmas trees, and on bushes and buildings throughout the city. They’re in practically every store and mall, and sometimes we’ve seen them in synchronized musical displays on homes.

So, we tend to take Christmas lights for granted.

BUT Christmas lights haven’t always been around.

Tradition tells us that Martin Luther decorated his “Christmas tree” as far back as 1510. But the idea took several centuries to really catch fire (if you will).

• At first people glued small candles to the tree branches with melted wax or attached by pins.

• Around 1890, candleholders began to be used to hold those Christmas candles.

• In the early 1900’s, people started using small lanterns and glass balls to hold their candles.

On December 22, 1882 Edward H. Johnson (an associate of Thomas Edison) had the first string of electric lights created for his tree. There were 80 red, white and blue electric incandescent light bulbs about the size of a walnut hand-wired together. However the lights were so expensive that it took over decade for stores to use them and nearly 50 years for them become popular in the general populace.

But once they became accepted around 1930 - for the past 80 years electric Christmas lights have been commonplace. So we tend to take them for granted. And we’d have a hard time thinking about Christmas without them.

But as beautiful and pleasing as those Christmas lights are at Christmas, they are but a pale reminder of the REAL LIGHT of Christmas. John 1 tells us that…

“In (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:4-5

(PAUSE)

You remember the phrase: “Jesus is the reason for the season?”

He’s also “The Light Of the Season”

He is “The true light that gives light to every man...” John 1:9

This was a common theme throughout the Bible:

Isaiah prophesied of day the Messiah would come: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (Mt. 4:15)

During Jesus’ ministry He said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

And again He said: “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

Paul said that Jesus sent him “to open (peoples’) eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in (Jesus).” Acts 26:18

And Colossians tells us God “…rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” Colossians 1:13

So -what does this mean - that Jesus is THE light of the world?

Well, it helps to realize how important that concept is.

Colossians tells us God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness.

And Jesus said – whoever followed Him - would never walk in darkness.

Darkness?

ILLUS: The story’s told of little 5 year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go alone. "It’s dark in there and I’m scared."

She asked again and - he refused again.

Finally she said, "It’s OK honey -Jesus will be in there with you."

So, Johnny walked slowly to the door and opened it, and he peeked inside, saw... it was dark.

He started to leave --- and then all at once an idea came, and he said, "Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup."

Now, why was little Johnny afraid?

It was dark in there.

People have always been a little afraid of the dark. That’s one of the reasons we have nightlights. If there’s a strange noise in the night – I’d just as soon have a light on. I don’t want to encounter things that go bump in the night without turning the lights on.

The dark can be a scary place to be.

The dark can hide scary things I don’t want to face alone.

The dark can rob me of my courage, my hope... my faith.

And what many people have discovered is that - the world can be a very DARK place.

It can be a place where scary things hide.

The world can be a place that robs me of my courage, my hope, my faith.

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